Giving Yourself Purchase Jitters:I am guilty of spending money and feeling that momentary excitement from making a purchase - don't know why, but I'm as easily bit by the shopping bug as anyone else. However, before I actually make a purchase, I have a slightly-mental conversation with myself. Imagine a devil and an angel on either shoulder, or more accurate, a skin-flint and a spend-thrift.
Skinflint - You don't NEED that.And this conversation continues until I get 3 USES for the item in question. I call this my "3 Use Argument". Usually, I get tired of thinking about it and put the item back before I talk myself into 3 ways it will improve my life, so 9 out of 10 times this prevents me from buying it. The best part of this odd little mental-check? I feel GOOD when I DON'T buy it!
Spendthrift - But I WANT it.
Skinflint - Well, what's it gonna do for you that don't have already?
Spendthrift - Well, it will _______.
Skinflint - That's it?
Spendthrift - No, there's.... more....
The trick doesn't take more than 30 seconds to be effective, and here are some details to help you make it happen in your own head:
Putting the "3 Use Argument" Into Action:That oh-so cute but just a salt and pepper shaker? Only one use, so no buy. However, the 12 pack of quart mason jars with lids/bands on sale? SOLD! I see pantry food storage, double-ups for leftover storage in the fridge, pickling jars, cookie-mix gift containers, and the list goes on.
SO, before you buy something, consider how it can do 3 different things for you before you even consider actually buying it. Need some help getting the conversation going? Consider the following list of common bought "impulse" purchases.
Clothing/Jewelry: Can I wear it to work and/or casual days and/or social events? Can I wear it at least 3 seasons of the year? Can I wear it with at least 3 different items I already owned?
Kitchen Items: Does it have more than one purpose or problem it solves? Do I have anything that already does these things? Can I re-use it for something else later in its life or is it a one-show pony?
Bedding/Pillows/Blankets: Is there a place that I don't already have something that does this? Will this last for years to come? Is it completely washable? Can I use this for multiple areas of the house?
Snack Foods/Beverages: Can I get 3 snacks out of this? Does this help my health improve ? Can I use the container/purchase for anything else/another reason (e.g. coffee at a place with wifi, free parking, or AC/heated waiting space?)
Technology Stuffs: Will I use this more than 3 times? Do I have three different instances that this would improve the experience of (e.g. taking photos for work, for pleasure, and for family sharing...) Is there anything comparable to this that I already own or could easily create?
Decorations: Can I use this to decorate for more than 2 occasions? Do the colors lend themselves to things I already own? Will I love this in 3 years or is it a passing interest?
Containers: What do I own that I would put in there, and where is that thing stored now? Will this improve my storage/use of that item three fold? Can I think of 2 other things I have that could be stored in this?
These are just jump points for the habitual shopper to start talking themselves OUT OF buying things. Once you start to have a dialogue with yourself about how you would ACTUALLY use something, it's a lot easier to point out to yourself when you wouldn't get enough out of the purchase to make it worth it.
Happy "Not-Buying" Shopping!